July 19th, 2020

How to connect with potential customers during a pandemic?

A recent mailer from Costco illustrates how one company did just that. Let’s take a closer look.

Format: Greeting card size. The blue envelope was 5 1/8” 7 ½”. The enclosed greeting card was 7” x 9.5” folding in half to 4.75” x 7”. There was a 4.5” x 6.5/8” card tucked into the greeting card.

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Design: Costco used a blue envelope with blue ink which invokes the look of a greeting card, not a piece of solicitation mail. They used a precancelled stamp, a “handwriting” font and even used a Hallmark round gold seal on the back flap. Hallmark cards are known for the gold crown in the seal so people would feel comfortable opening the card. Costco also used a “mailers postmark” to imitate letter mail. The card and insert looked just like a greeting card – the front of the card said “Summer is for Celebrating” and the insert has the same image of a lemon and background pattern as the card. The font on the card and insert was more informal, just like you would expect from a card from a friend.

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Printing & paper: There weren’t any special printing techniques used, the stock was heavy enough and it arrived in good condition.

Presentation: Appearance is everything! Costco deliberately designed this piece to look like it was coming from a friend or relative. The attributes of this mailing lend itself to a higher open rate. The card itself was actually a specially designed and printed card by Hallmark.

Purpose: Costco is using this piece to increase membership. They are pushing people to either visit their local store or visit the Costco website.

Offer and call to action: The offer was well presented, relevant and valuable. If any of those three key best practices was missed, the mailer would not be as effective. The offer was a $30 Costco card. The call to action was to sign up for auto renew by July 31, 2020. The expiration date was clearly stated, making the call to action a little more timely by adding a sense of urgency to the promotion.

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Digital technology integration: None. One suggestion would have been including a QR code that takes the end user to the membership form.

Personalization: The card was personalized to the recipient which makes Costco connect more with the consumer.

Overall, a solid direct mail campaign. Costco designed the piece to maximize open rate. People are often overwhelmed with advertising mail so anything you can do to make your mail piece stand out will help to increase your return on investment. A little added cost in production can boost the bottom line.